The woman is sitting prim in an old winged armchair, legs crossed and fingers intertwined over one knee. She leans forwards and watches the boy on the floor, still in his bright red sweater. He's stacking colourful bricks until they tumble, then he giggles and claps his hands before starting over. "He's unusual you know," she simpers, "most kids cry when the bricks fall, or they want you to come help them." Then she turns her amber eyes on me, "you can go now." I've been a trader too long not to pick this one apart. She's tense. Her smile is taut and there's a slight tremor in her cheek. When her eyes fall on him they are the same as Jack's when I pull out candy for a fresh meat trade. It's greed. Tension and greed. Then the penny drops. He's a commodity to her. She's a front for the kidnappers. I move gently toward him as if for a goodbye hug, she's not to know it's not the sort of thing I do. Once he's in my arms she drops her pretence and moves to block the door.

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, November 28, 2014.

Found in Darwin's Ghost - first draft, authored by daisy.